Head of Unit for East, South-East-Asia and the Pacific
European Commission's Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO)
EU Policies in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Thank the opportunity to share the EU views and to exchange ideas on water and sanitation to better strengthen understanding, dialogue and results in the future.
Dealing with Water and Sanitation is not only a matter to address basic Human Rights, but also a fundamental way to address economic growth and job creation, leading to poverty eradication and effective sustainable development, with unquestionable benefits in terms of Health and Education, particularly for women and girls.
For example, Pacific countries are witnessing an urban population growth, adding pressure and stress on available water resources and provoking uncontrolled and not planned waste disposals. We are losing ecosystems like wetlands and forests, the ones we need most for a healthy water cycle. Climate change is affecting rain patterns, raising sea levels and increasing damages related to extreme events, affecting directly the availability of water.
The Pacific region is confronted with specific geographic characteristics and challenges that make the WASH sector particularly significant in also addressing climate change adaptation measures. Addressing Integrated Water Resources Management including Sanitation, and Solid and Water Waste management has also immediate repercussions in fundamental Pacific islands economic sectors like tourism.
The EU acknowledges the differences among Pacific countries in terms of access to improved water and sanitation and the challenge to reach SDG 6 targets by 2030.
Urgent measures must be taken to address efficiency and sustainability use of those resources. This is a European priority. For example, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated goal on water and sanitation, with a view to ensuring the "availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
EU's interest in the sector is well represented by the strong presence in the region, particularly in Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Cook Islands.
How We May Mutually reinforce in the future for better development results
Thank the participants by concluding that water and sanitation must remain high on the agenda, both in the EU, in the Pacific region and globally, to assure the future generations a sustainable and healthy environment.. By continuing to share experiences, we can better address the key challenges and the opportunities in the Pacific.
The upcoming negotiations for the next programming cycle will offer all the countries of the region a unique opportunity to address national priorities related to water and sanitation. We can only succeed, if we work together and join our efforts.
Inform that the EU can provide technical and financial instruments to partner countries to achieve sustainable economic activities in support of these common objectives.
We must speed-up the transition towards a circular economy, and address the barriers preventing us to progress faster. These challenges are even more serious and pressing for the Pacific States.